Profile: Joel Anthony
From getting cut from his college team to going undrafted out of UNLV, HEAT second-year center Joel Anthony had every reason to give up on basketball. Instead, he spent countless of hours in the gym working on his game and now has become an integral part of the HEATs rotation.
Name: Joel Vincent Anthony
Nickname: Big J
Hometown: Montreal, Canada
Years Pro: 1
Joel Vincent Anthony was on born August 9, 1982, in Montreal, Quebec. He started playing basketball his senior year of high school.
When I was younger, basketball was like swimming in Canada not many people played it. Hockey is the big sport there, but football was my first love. During my last year in high school, I started getting serious about basketball and developing my skills.
Missing the Cut
After high school, Anthony attended Dawson College, where he was cut from the basketball squad.
I used getting cut as motivation. Thats the summer I really honed in and began working hard trying to improve as a player. I felt like if I really put my mind to it and get good coaching, Id be able to get on the court and compete. Thats been my entire focus ever since.
Pensacola Junior College
He later starred at Pensacola Junior College, where he earned First Team All-Conference honors in 2003-04, after averaging 9.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game.
My coach there was the biggest influence of my life. I really matured and grew up under him, both in the classroom and on the court. There was such a big jump from junior college to Division I, but when I transferred to UNLV, I felt like I was ready because of my two years at Pensacola Junior College.
At the UNLV, Anthony made a name for himself, helping lead the Runnin Rebels to a 30-7 season his senior year. He was also named Mountain West Conference defensive player of the year, finishing second in the NCAA in shot-blocking.
It was a great experience. I had a great time at UNLV. My last year, we went to the Sweet 16, and it was just a great time. I love Las Vegas. Every time I go back, it feels like home.
After going undrafted in 2007, Anthony signed with the HEAT as a free agent on July 3, 2007.
I actually didnt expect to get drafted. Looking into it, I didnt know what to expect. I was just going to work hard for everything I got and try to make the most of it. I was fortunate enough to get some looks and landed on a great opportunity here with the HEAT.
Getting First Start
Anthony got his first start of the season on November 28 against the Phoenix Suns, helping the HEAT to a 107-92 win.
I was excited about it at first, but all of it eventually went away. I have to work even harder now that I have much more responsibility. It definitely feels good to start, but I still have to stay focused.